It must be a lovely time to be Alison Brie.
No matter what happens with "Community," the show definitely has an audience that loves it and is passionate about it, myself included. And "Mad Men" returned this year after an unusually long hiatus and appears to have quickly reestablished its place at the center of pop culture. Now, with "The Five Year Engagement," she's also on thousands of movie screens this weekend.
She co-stars here as Suzie, sister to Violet (Emily Blunt), one of the leads of the film. One of the ways Stoller and Jason Segel, the film's star and co-writer, illustrate the frustration of the prolonged engagement in the film is by etching in the details of a separate relationship where things move at a totally different pace. Suzie ends up with Alex (Chris Pratt), and we see them start a family and start to evolve into real adults, and while they don't have a ton of screen time, they do a good job of showing some real growth as time passes.
It must be a lovely time to be Alison Brie.
I haven't seen the new "Expendables 2" trailer that premiered at CinemaCon this week, but it seems like it went over well with the crowd that was there.
No one would be happier to see this movie work than I would. I want to believe. I love action movies that don't remotely apologize for what they are and what they do, and if you do an ensemble film like this correctly, it can be tremendous fun. While I didn't love the first film, the potential of it was potent, and the additions they're making this time absolutely make it worth taking another trip with the Expendables.
Well, I'm glad you asked.
Shirley MacLaine's been famous as long as I've been aware of movies and movie stars, and she has been part of more classics than I can list here today.
She's one of those people who works infrequently enough that when you get a call asking if you want to interview them, you say yes no matter what the film is. You say yes because you have no idea how many more opportunities there will be to speak to them and tell them how much their work has meant to you.
Thankfully, "Bernie" is more than just an opportunity for me to sit down with a great movie star. My review will be up later, but it's safe to say I'm wildly enthusiastic about it, and I think both MacLaine and her co-star, Jack Black, give great performances in the movie. Much of what they do is bouncing off of one another, so it makes perfect sense that they put the two of them together for the interview.
Who is Neill Cumpston?
That question was asked of me frequently during my time at Ain't It Cool News, and over the years, I've heard other people answer that question with a fair degree of authority, accusing people of secretly writing Cumpston's reviews for AICN. Peter Travers once claimed to know the "truth" about Neill. But those people are crazy. The entire time, I repeatedly explained that I met Neill standing in line at a test screening, and Neill is simply Neill. He is a far more vocal example of a certain section of fandom than I am, and I love his pure enthusiasm. I was happy to publish him not because he is famous, but because he is Neill. If you don't know his work, check out his "Grindhouse" review. Or his "Return Of The King" review. Or his "Batman Begins" piece. He is a work of art.
He's also completely insane, of course. The way he connects the dots in his writing delights me from a purely anthropological point of view, and his use of profanity is Pulitzer-worthy. Make no mistake… a Neill Cumpston review is flat-out filthy at times, but always for a purpose.
I was starting to think John Hillcoat was allergic to fun.
While I admire Hillcoat's commitment to the grim aesthetic he's pursued over his last few films, "The Proposition" and especially "The Road" are punishing experiences for a viewer. Hillcoat seems to take some sort of pleasure in emotionally demolishing his audience, and he's seemed somewhat unwilling to even let in a little bit of light.
Now that we've got a trailer for "Lawless," his new film, I am more excited than I already was about seeing it at Cannes next month. This looks like a blast, and it may well end up being the most commercial thing he's ever done as a filmmaker.
I've seen the film twice now, and I'm going to do my best to avoid pointless hyperbole in reviewing this.
Short version: it's tremendous entertainment, confident and complete in a way that none of the Marvel movies so far have been, and I say that as someone who likes the Marvel movies in general. The company makes an incremental leap forward with this movie, and they've set the bar fairly high for themselves in the future. I am pleased and impressed and feel like this more than pays off any emotional investment I made in the movies as they were being released.
When discussing "The Avengers" as a film, though, there are several ways to approach it. You can look at it as a further evolution of what Joss Whedon does as a writer and director. You can review it based on its place in the Marvel canon overall. You can analyze how it fits into the overall genre of superhero films. I think the only way to place it in the correct context is to approach it from all of those directions, because the film seems to occupy a unique place in pop culture, and considering how big a commercial product it is, there's something sort of revolutionary about its very existence.
LAS VEGAS, NV - I drove four-and-a-half hours today to see a 75 minute movie.
I regret nothing.
The 11:00 PM screening of "The Dictator" started late, but the capacity audience seemed happy about it when Sacha Baron Cohen arrived in character as General Aladeen, the dictator of the small country of Wadiya, flanked by two armed guards and some preposterously hot bodyguards.
Evidently, Cohen made a similar appearance at the Caesars Palace Colliseum during the Paramount presentation earlier in the evening. I wasn't there to see that, and I'm leaving Vegas again fairly early tomorrow morning. I've got a lot to do this week in Los Angeles, and I figure we'll see much of this material soon anyway. But the chance to see the first finished screening of the latest collaboration between director Larry Charles and Cohen as a new outrageous, larger-than-life character seemed to justify a quick overnight trip.
Gina Carano may be joining Dwayne Johnson's team for "Fast Six."
In related news, "Fast Six" is going to be awwwwwwwwesome.
Perhaps the single thing I most regret about missing this year's ActionFest in Asheville, North Carolina, aside from not getting to spend time with my parents who live in Asheville, was that Gina Carano attended this year to pick up the "Chick" Norris award. I really dug "Haywire" when it came out earlier this year, and I just rewatched it when the Blu-ray was sent for review.
I also really liked "Fast Five," which I think is the single best distillation of what they've tried to do with the "Fast and the Furious" franchise overall. In particular, adding Dwayne Johnson in the Tommy Lee Jones/"Fugitive" role was a stroke of genius, and it brought a brand-new energy to the fifth film in the series.
When you're kicking off a new franchise, calling Charlie Kaufman seems to be as outside-the-box as Hollywood thinking could possibly be.
However, if you're a studio looking for underlying material to support a new franchise, buying a young-adult series set in a dystopian future is pretty much as by-the-book as Hollywood thinking gets.
So when Lionsgate buys the "Chaos Walking" series of books by Patrick Ness, it makes perfect sense. I'm sure as soon as they're done with "The Hunger Games," they're going to want another series to be ready and waiting. Now it looks like they've hired Kaufman to adapt at least the first book in the series, "The Knife Of Never Letting Go." While Kaufman doesn't immediately leap to mind as the sort of guy who writes big studio mainstream films, this might actually turn out to be a very canny fit of filmmaker and material.
JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #4: "Thunderball"
This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.
Directed by Terence Young
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins and Jack Whittingham
Story by Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming
Produced by Kevin McClory and Stanley Sopel
CHARACTERS / CAST
James Bond / Sean Connery
Domino Derval / Claudine Auger
Largo / Adolfo Celi
Fiona / Luciana Paluzzi
Felix Leiter / Rik Van Nutter
Count Lippe / Guy Doleman
Patricia / Molly Peters
Paula / Martine Beswick
"M" / Bernard Lee
"Q" / Desmond Llewelyn
Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Foreign Secretary / Roland Culver
Francois Derval/Angelo Palazzi / Paul Stassino
Pinder / Earl Cameron
Starting with that monogrammed "JB" on the side of a casket is a nice touch.
Bond's at the funeral of a man he wanted to kill, and he's upset he missed his opportunity. He watches the family drive away. But… wait… turns out the dude is posing as his own widow, and James follows him to the family home, then beats the ever-lovin' snot out of him. It's a vicious fight, ending with Bond strangling the guy to death with a fireplace poker. Bond makes his escape via jetpack in one of the great practical gags from the film series, and, using a car that appears to have been through Q branch, sprays down the guards chasing him, which leads into the underwater opening credit sequence, complete with Tom Jones theme song.